Kennedy Wilson and Varde buy UK shopping centres for £250m

Kasmira Jefford
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US PROPERTY investment and services firm Kennedy Wilson and debt specialist Varde Partners yesterday agreed to buy a portfolio of eight UK shopping centres out of administration for $388m (£250m).

Kennedy Wilson did not disclose which shopping malls they had acquired but said they were spread across England and Scotland and spanned a total of 2.3m square feet.

The portfolio generates around 85 per cent of its income from national retailers including Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Asda, Tesco, River Island and Primark, the companies said in a statement.

“We see impressive potential in this investment and look forward to capitalising on strong interest from retailers,” said Mary Ricks, president and chief executive of Kennedy Wilson Europe.

“In addition to asset management upside, there is the opportunity to benefit from improving economic and market conditions, including rental value improvement and yield compression to add value.”

California-based Kennedy Wilson has been on a spending spree since the start of the year, snapping up $1.9bn of distressed loan portfolios and assets in the U.K. and Ireland and $2.6bn across the world.

It recently bought a residential-led scheme in Dublin for €80m from receivers Grant Thornton and Lloyds Bank’s loan portfolio Project Forth for £778.6m in December last year.